If you’ve gone thru college or university, chances are that you’ve spent at least an average of fifteen years of formal education (probably more if you’ve gone thru postgraduate programs). Having completed my engineering degree from our nation’s premier state university, I was under the impression that I would have learned the most important life skills within the five years I spent completing my degree. I was wrong. I was only taught the skills necessary to pursue a career but not those that are essential for living. Engineers were taught how to use mathematics to perform the tasks that they needed to do. Same is true with accountants and other related careers that require an understanding of mathematics. Unfortunately, these important life skills are not being taught in schools.
- Leadership. Management is being taught in business schools but this is totally different from leadership. Most people think that they are one and the same. Management is a title, leadership is influence. I can go on and list a number of differences between the two. But in order to be really successful in life, one has to learn (and continuously improve) leadership skills as the concepts apply to just about any aspect of life.
- Relationship Management. And I don’t mean customer relationship management here. What I mean is human relationship management – the art and science of engaging and maintaining valuable relationships. How often have we had failed relationships in the past, whether personal or in business, wishing that we should have been taught the skills to make it right? Relationship management would be relatively different when you’re dealing with a spouse, a customer, a business partner or an employee.
- Financial Management. Got credit? How much do you owe? Savings? While financial accounting is being taught in business schools, it has always been in the context of business. What about that monthly grocery budget? Or the bills that need to get paid every month? Are we even looking at how we can reduce our “expenditures” while increasing our “revenues” in the context of our household budget?
- Communication. “Why am I always being misunderstood? Why can’t I get the message across? Does that have anything to do with the way I say things? Maybe I just wasn’t listening. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” I have had this type of conversation with myself in the past. I bet you have too. Communication is indeed a very important skill that we all need to learn and develop.
- Parenting. If you’re a parent, you would definitely understand this. You wonder why kids don’t come with handbooks or manuals. And I believe you would definitely agree with me on this if I say most of the times, parents are clueless as to what to do with kids.